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A tale of One Telegraph – follow up

I said that I would look out for the transcript of the judgment that Mr Booker was reporting about

The bare facts that we knew were – His Honour Judge Jones, two boys, a bruise, and an older child, and Placement Orders being made.

This case here, ticks all of those boxes

Re A (a child) 2014

I don’t want to get stuck into the facts too much, because there’s no way to be SURE that it is the same case that Mr Booker was writing about. You may recall that the central complaint in Mr Booker’s piece was that the parents weren’t able to fight the case and were not allowed into Court.

From Re A, the Court say this:-


  1. The parties to the applications and their legal representations are as follows:
  • the Local Authority, X County Council brings both applications in respect of the children and are represented today by Miss Beattie;
  • the children’s mother L is represented today by Miss Erwood. The mother has been present during the course of today, but she like the father has decided not to remain within this courtroom this afternoon for the purposes of this judgment. That decision is perfectly understandable so far as the Court is concerned;
  • The children’s father is CC. He shares parental responsibility for the children. He is represented by Mr Blythin;
  • The children are represented by their Guardian Miss Siân Wilson who has been present today and is represented by their solicitor Miss Debbie Owens.


A parent deciding that they don’t want to come in and hear the judgment is not that uncommon, and is an utterly different thing to being told they aren’t allowed to come in.

It can’t be an easy thing to listen to, particularly where (as these parents did) they have decided not to fight the case and they know that the outcome is going to be something that will break their heart.

One of Mr Booker’s complaints is that the parents were told that there was no prospect of appeal. That would be right in this case, because the parents decided not to oppose the case. It would be an extremely unlikely scenario that a person can decide not to fight a case and then the same day have legal grounds to appeal the decision.

It is always difficult with a Mr Booker story to be sure when you actually have the judgment that matches up with his case, and in his defence, it could be that this is another case entirely.

There’s nothing improper about the judgment in Re A – it considers everything that needs to be looked at, it is not a rubber stamp, it gives proper regard to the evidence and the legal tests and it is as kind as a Judge can be in those difficult circumstances.

IF this is the case that Mr Booker complains of, there is absolutely nothing in it that warrants the level of complaint he was making.

They had legal representation, they were entitled to go into the Court, they were entitled to instruct their lawyers to fight the case. By the sounds of it, they were given advice that the chances of doing so successfully were very poor and they decided not to put themselves through that ordeal. Perhaps they regretted it almost immediately. Perhaps they feel in hindsight that they didn’t feel that they had a choice. Perhaps they wish that they had fought the case and that they will never know now what might have happened. But they had the choice to make, and they made that choice with legal advice.

Perhaps (and I really don’t want to besmirch these particular lawyers, it is more of a general complaint) lawyers don’t always make it completely clear enough to parents that the lawyer is there to advise them, but that the parent can refuse to take that advice. They can tell the lawyer to fight on, and the lawyer’s job then is to fearlessly represent that client without fear or favour.  You can tell your lawyer, thanks, but not thanks.

Unlike a boxing cornerman, your lawyer can’t throw in the towel on your behalf, even if they think you will take a horrible beating. Only you can throw the towel in.

[One can accept of course that someone can legitimately hold a view that adoption is wrong in all cases and that any case involving adoption is thus wrong and unfair. If that’s your view, then like Ian of Forced Adoption, you’re entitled to make complaint about all and any cases. But if you are instead arguing that in this particular case, the parents were robbed of a fair hearing, and denied due process, there’s nothing to support that assertion]

If it isn’t the same case (and he is able quite easily to establish the date of the final hearing and who was representing the parents to show otherwise) then we will have to wait and see for when the real case he was writing about shows up.


There ARE things that go wrong in family law, there are cases where parents are done great injustice (like the HH Judge Dodds case that Mr Booker also writes about) and it is a good thing that there are people to make those injustices known. It is only by dragging them into the light that things will get better.  But we do also have to be responsible in reporting and be sure that if we are shouting that there’s a wolf that what you are seeing is really a wolf.



About suesspiciousminds

Law geek, local authority care hack, fascinated by words and quirky information; deeply committed to cheesecake and beer.

57 responses

  1. Oh dear dear me Suespicious !Usually you do read what Booker and myself write but not in this case ! Again and again I repeat that the judge was not to blame it was the wicked bent lawyers who told them THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED IN COURT !! Booker wrote this and so did I ; I repeat that time after time unscrupulous lawyers tell clients to wait outside and in this case the parents arrived with witnesses and loads of evidence and were NOT ALLOWED in.According to the parents their lawyers pointed at security men and said they were NOT allowed in the court.This happens again and again in other cases especially with teenage single mothers who find their children adopted without even seeing a judge let alone speaking to one.I can supply the phone number of the victims if you wish to speak to them Andrew.They were parents desperate to keep their children with no reason to lie but the lazy barristers anxious to maintain good relations with the local authority had every reason to do so ;This scenario happens a lot more often than you think and it is an outrage !!

    • Forced Adoption

      Can you confirm that this case is the one referred to by Mr Brooker? I am somewhat confused by your comments because the Judge specifically states that ·

      ‘The mother has been present during the course of today, but she like the father has decided not to remain within this courtroom this afternoon for the purposes of this judgment. That decision is perfectly understandable so far as the Court is concerned;’

      That does not fit with your statement that ‘they arrived with witnesses and loads of evidence and were not allowed in’.

      You say that the Judge was not to blame and it’s all down to bent/unscrupulous lawyers but in this case you seem to be accusing the Judge of lying in saying she was in the courtroom during the course of the day. Can you please clarify?

    • Ian, perhaps it would help if you can confirm, given that you are clearly in touch with these parents, that the judgment in Re A is their case (i.e the judgment was given in April 2014 and the barristers named in Re A are the ones that were acting for the parents)

      It is really clear from Re A that the mother had been present in Court for some of the hearing and had decided that she could not face being present for the decision, which is perfectly understandable. But if we are talking about two different cases entirely, then I will keep looking out for the right judgment.

      • Addressing your claim full on – if what you are suggesting is that a parent tells their counsel to fight the case, counsel decides for themselves to give in, tells a parent that they are not allowed in to Court and then lies to the Court to say “my client has instructed me that they don’t oppose the order”, just to let you know that if counsel did that, they would be massively exposed to a complaint that if upheld would have them struck off and lose their career, livelihood and house. They would have wasted three years at university, two years of bar school, and however many years experience they have gathered.

        It would be a HUGE risk to take, and as others have pointed out they’d be taking that risk in order to earn LESS money on the case. You would have to be an extraordinary human being to want to risk all that for no gain, just because you are lazy or don’t want to fight.

        All that it would take to destroy that barrister in that scenario, would be for the parent to approach a member of Court staff and say “My barrister won’t let me into Court, and I want to fight” whilst the case was still in Court.

        (Barristers tend, by their nature, to be pretty up for an argument and a fight)

        So back to Hume – extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

        As others have said in this debate, there can be a problem for a parent who wants to fight, but their barrister gives them advice that their care is hopeless, to the point where a parent thinks “I don’t have confidence in this person fighting if I tell them to” – ideally, you’ve had that advice at a conference before the final hearing so that if you want to swap to a different barrister you have that chance. It can feel like you are stuck with either giving in, or telling a barrister that you know thinks your case is hopeless to fight it anyway. I can see why that feels like not much of a choice at all. And I can see why a parent who gives in feeling like that, feels very unhappy about it afterwards.

        I always start my advice with “You tell me what to do, and whatever you tell me you want, I will go in and scrap for it as hard as I am able. So I give you advice about what I think your chances are – because that’s part of my job to advise you what will happen if you do x or y, but it is still YOUR choice, and what you say goes” – I think most lawyers say something similar to that.

      • I know a few who have simply said “stay there I’ll sort it” these parents have blind faith that they’re the expert, they’ll do what’s best. I recently attended a hearing where the barrister did not put one relevant question or evidence forward, leaving the judge with no choice but to make the decisions he did, which has resulted in a return to court, it never could and hasn’t worked- the barrister also allowed the judge to refuse a previously ordered fact finding, and refused to hear vital evidence, the parent sat quietly not knowing I was jumping up and down wanting a recusal, but could say nothing until it was too late. There wasnt even a request to appeal put forward. Result is there are very messed up children.
        Personally I have had a lawyer tell me she’s the expert and doesn’t expect me to tell her what to do, lucky for my grandchild I went against that advice after seeing her in action ONCE and fought alone, the LA subsequently had to withdraw their adoption plans and left the case 2 years ago with the child happily at home with mother and doing well … I believe of we’d agreed to everything the lawyer wanted us to, that wouldn’t be the case, I also believe I had more time more passion and knew the situation well enough to fight like a tiger, the lawyer on the other hand was getting paid either way, that attitude was very evident

      • Speak to the parents yourself.It is the same case.This scenario happens again and

      • Yes the parents had 4 hearings and only saw the judge once at the very first hearing for a fleeting moment when the threshold was read out and the interim care order was made before they were taken out of the court room by ever so sympathetic lawyers who said alas that parents could not speak in these courts! I repeat they were told they could not go into the court and believed their lawyers until I told them differently ! They had witnesses and documentary evidence lined up for the final hearing and never got a sniff of an opportunity to present them; Parents who often have never been in a court before believe bent lawyers who say they cannot speak and cannot appeal and unless they meet someone like Booker or myself they retreat shattered ,demoralised,and beaten! As barrister Michelle Freedman remarked on my site “my clients were like lambs to the slaughter!” Shame on the legal profession….

  2. I know where parents have been told by their solicitors and barristers have said ‘Do as I say or I quit!’.

    • Ashamed to be British

      that’s when the parents say “Do as I say or you are sacked!” You employ them to take your instruction, not the other way round, I had a solicitor tell me she was not there to be told by me, what she had trained x amount of years to do, so I said well take your law books and do one, which she did, and the child didn’t even get past pre PLO stage, I think it would have been a different story if I’d allowed her to stay, especially as they all greeted each other on 1st name terms!

  3. I think you are far too generous to Mr Booker. My opinion of his activities I will not share as you probably wouldn’t be able to print it. But its not that he cries wolf at every moving shadow in the nighttime. He ignores facts, he ignores reality and worse, he puts the most negative spin on it that he can muster.

    It is shameful that he abuses his platform in this way. He must know what he is doing, as I assume he can actually read.

    If anyone is told by their lawyer to do as the lawyer says or the lawyer will quit, let them and then complain about them to their disciplinary body. I sometimes have to tell my clients – I don’t think you can win. If you want me to fight, I will. But I am not being fair to you if I tell you you have a chance when I don’t think you do.

    • Nothing constructive just abuse,abuse ,and more abuse from phillimoresarah who is obviously outraged every time injustice is clinically exposed in the family courts.tell largely ill educated parents to complain about their lawyers? Who to?How to word their complaint? crushed ,beaten,and distressed by the loss of the children they love you know quite well that even if they overcame all these difficulties they would not be believed by people like you! They know it too and so do you !

  4. Anonymous Barrister...

    Everyone gets their turn as the bogeyman, and today it is the lawyers.

    The allegation is always self-interest on behalf of the lawyers. That can only be because the people making these accusations don’t understand how we get paid. Put bluntly, the advocates in the case will have lost around a couple of grand per head because the parents threw their hand in (assuming maybe four days, including bolt-on for experts).

    Seriously, Ian, if you’re representing a parent the ideal client is one with an utterly fanciful and hopeless case (the more hopeless the better) who is determined to have you stick it to a gang of experts over the course of a number of days. You make a decent amount of money, you get to cross-examine experts (who are always the most interesting people to cross-examine), and then eventually your client spectacularly demolishes their own case when the come to give evidence so provided you’ve had a decent crack at the experts nobody is going to get miffed at you.

    Contrast that position with one where you have to spend ages trying to get emotionally overwrought parents to comprehend advice and accept the inevitable. Not least because if they do you are suddenly out a week of work, with no prospect of the clerks finding you anything else to do. And then you only get paid a few hundred quid for the many hours of prep you did in case the parent does want to fight. It really is better and easier when they insist they insist (in the face of the proper advice) that they are going to fight on.

    Something to think about when casually bandying around accusations of self-interest and dishonesty.

    • Anonymous Barrister...

      I might as well explain, for the benefit of Ian, why a parent who has made the difficult decision to give up the fight might subsequently decide to assert they were barred from the courtroom. It’s an avoidance mechanism for people who made choices that they subsequently regret—and who might otherwise have to face the fact that they carry some responsibility for the child being removed—because that is easier than facing up to a deeply painful reality.

      Again, something to think about.

      • What a strange thing to say!
        Many parents are told to sit down be quiet and the expert barristers will deal with it … Yes even those parents who have done nothing wrong, you sound like one of the nay Sayers who don’t believe children are just taken for no reason, or even reasons such as the nursery doesn’t particularly like the parents.
        Buy Traffic (iii) from – not UK as social services have had it banned here (says something) and listen to the real ppl telling the real stories- the opening scene is very typical of how this happens

      • Yes something to think about !Birds of a Feather flock together as do lawyers for both sides anxious to ingratiate themselves with the local authority who can offer them any amount of work and contemptuous of largely ill educated but loving parents robbed of their children by the unscrupulous” Professional losers” who profit from the easy money gained in the family court system .Again and again parents losing their kids for “risk of future emotional abuse ” cry that they have done nothing wrong and are astonished when I tell them they had every right to speak themselves call witnesses and present their own case.This happens too often to doubt the practice and is nothing short of a stain on the whole legal profession or at any rate those who practice in the family courts.

  5. Suespicious this is the same case and the parents have assured me they never saw a judge at any time.I have given you the phone number so you are welcome to speak to them yourself ! This scenario happens to hundreds of parents, again and again and again ;The parents are battered and helpless against the remorseless tide of social workers ,guardians,experts,and their own lawyers telling them what to do and to “go along with social services” is the advice that they despairingly obey………… Parents actually believe these bent lawyers ,do not know if any protest is allowed or who to protest to and in any case know that they would have no chance of being believed as they are.overwhelmed and crushed by an all powerful system so they lose their children to abuse by the State…….

    • You still haven’t answered my question. The judgement, written by the Judge, says the mother was in Court during the day, though left for the judgement itself. You are evading the central point; you are accusing the Judge of lying in the Judgement, but you are dodging that issue.

      The country may be knee-deep in bent lawyers doing exactly what you allege but that isn’t the issue here; you are accusing the Judge of lying in the Judgement whilst simultaneously saying that the Judge was not to blame. I see no rational way of reconciling those two statements, so make your mind up. One or other of your statements about the Judge must be untrue; which one was it?

      • Of course the judge believed the barristers who implied that these parents had been in the actual court but had decided not to wait for the judgement ;when in fact they had indeed been on the premises in a witness room but never in the court itself where the judge was sitting. No doubt the judgement was drafted not by the judge but by one of the barristers and signed by the judge who would have made no objection to the wording having assumed that this was a true version of events !.Adoption,adoption,adoption, was the object of the exercise and no parent and no judge was going to have a chance to upset such plans .It surely says something that the first time these parents(who had never ever been on court premises before their children were snatched) saw any judgement from a judge was when I (living nearly 1000 miles away in Monaco) sent it to them ,having myself taken the reference off the excellent blog run by Suespicious minds ! They had photographs of severe bruising that the children received in fostercare and witnesses to testify to the loving character of their family but no evidence in their favour was ever presented.
        Now all contact(even supervised) has been stopped by social workers for whom the word compassion has long ceased to exist !

      • And now you are making even more serious allegations against the Judge; according to you not only was the mother not present in the courtroom but the Judge wasn’t either, and allowed Counsel to write his judgement for him. The Judge then lied yet again by presenting the Judgement as his own Judgement.

        It is impossible to reconcile this with your claim that the Judge was not to blame, and if the Judge had done what you now allege then the consequences for him would be extremely serious.

        I have no expertise in Family Law – about the most I could run to is a highly informed discussion on Pepper v Hart- but if a Judge had done this in my own field then the consequences would have been catastrophic. I have no doubt that Judges can behave disgracefully; the other case highlighted in the Telegraph is an excellent example, but this is in another league altogether.

        You need to provide evidence to support your allegations (I’m echoing Munby here) about the Judge, because they are very serious indeed. Nobody acting as you claim you did should be on the Bench.

  6. Pingback: A tale of One Telegraph – follow up | Chi...

  7. I’m sorry, that last sentence should have been:

    “Nobody acting as you claim he did should be on the bench.”

  8. Forced Adoption

    I have been re-reading the judgement in the light of your comments, and wonder whether you have actually read it at all. I note that the first time you could possibly have read it was after Suespiciousminds identified it on the 23rd February, which means that all your comments prior to that date were based on telephone conversations from Monaco to Wales, and yet you wrote with great force about what you claimed to have happened before you got access to the Judgement. Surely your telephone calls could have elicited the details of the judgement so you were not reliant on Suespiciousminds tracking it down; at the very least you had the date and the place to assist your search. And yet not only did you not find it yourself, you didn’t even pass it on to Suespiciousminds to assist him in his search. That does not look like the actions of someone interested in the Judgement.

    You have followed It up with very serious allegations about the Judge (I have already noted that the country may be knee-deep in bent lawyers but it’s irrelevant since this isn’t the issue here) and apparently haven’t bothered to tell the parents that:

    “There will in addition be the recordings which are set out on the draft Orders before me with regard to both children. That deals with the dispensation of consent, the recommendation by the Agency Decision-Maker, the Court’s approval of the primary Care Plan and indeed the Care Plan for contact, and an indication that the Local Authority would notify the parents if any contingency is resorted to, which is likely to be opposed by the parents, in effect triggering an application by such notice by the parents in due course for permission to apply for revocation of any Order with the Guardian’s involvement thereby being re-instituted.”

    The Judge had already noted that the Guardian was strongly opposed to any adoption placement which separated the two boys, the alternative being long-term foster care, with which he agreed; the final paragraph of his Judgement reflects that. So there is a contingency in which the parents may go back and apply for revocation of any Order; the chances of it happening may be low, but it’s a chance. One which you didn’t bother to mention to them back in 2014, but then you wouldn’t because you hadn’t bothered to find the Judgement.

    You certainly haven’t bothered to mention it in your comments here, either, but then you don’t seem interested in advocating the welfare of the parents and the children; you’re too busy castigating everyone involved, including the Judge, to bother with such trifling details…

  9. Steve PANIC at last at BAILII HEADQUARTERS !! The judgement Steve has been so proud of has been hastily removed ! I think this case will run and run !Will the judgement reappear in amended form.? Time will tell,but I have no doubt that after a big photo of himself plus important quotations from him in the Sunday Telegraph Sir James Munby could well be “on the case” right now !
    The judgement itself gives no det

  10. sorry what happened? Anyway the judgement itself gives no détails whatever of the parents version of events,no photographs of far worse bruising and other injuries suffered in fostercare
    As I keep saying the judge is not to blame because no evidence of consequence for the parents was presented to him ! You Steve know as well as I do that Counsel often type out the judgements for approval by the judge based on notes taken during the hearing and the judge does not seem to have signed this judgement in any case.Naturally I printed out a copy and it will make a nice little keepsake ! It is outrageous that these parents had to wait in a side room during each of four hearings and only saw a judge once to hear the “threshold read” before they were ushered out.Forced adoption is a last resort when nothing else will do (Sir James!)
    These loving parents were denied any sort of hearing by lawyers determined to prevent a fine fair judge from hearing their case.So far these professioonal losers have not denied these facts though they must very well know what is going on in the press and on the net;But really Steve you should stop smearing a fine judge and turn your attention to the lawyers who forbade the parents entry to the court and told the they could NOT appeal !

    • My name is Stevie.

      I will point out that the only person who has made allegations against the judge is you, and indeed the whole of the discussion is my challenging your allegations about the Judge. I have added to suespiciousminds quotations from the judgement – in particular the final paragraph – to make it clear that the Judge stressed that there were contingent options which could enable the parents to challenge all the orders.

      If the judgement, as you allege, was written by Counsel determined to prevent the parents having any opportunity at all to challenge the orders, why was the last paragraph included? Why should it include mention of the Guardian’s strong opposition to an adoption order separating the two boys, and the fact that the Guardian would therefore be included in any attempt by the Local authorities to vary any of the orders – including contact?

      Again, the Judges comments about the parents were sympathetic; why should Counsel include these?

      No rational person reading my posts would describe them as ‘smearing a fine judge’. I have been pointing out that you have smeared him by making a series of serious allegations about him which I do not believe.

      • Of course the barrister who wrote the unstamped judgement would put in a few nice things about the family to show how fair they are in the family courts!
        And oh Steve if you tell parents such as these as you suggest “there are contingent options which would enable the parents to challenge all the orders” what do you honestly think they would understand by that?,(even I am not sure what you are proposing!) and what could they do faced by lawyers who not only stopped them entering the courtroom but also curtly told them (as is the custom with the bretheren) NO APPEAL IS POSSIBLE !!

      • My name is still Stevie, as I have already pointed out; if you can’t get a simple detail like that right then i doubt your grasp of other facts.

        So, let’s get back to the central issue. You are still accusing the Judge of heinous behaviour, without any evidence to support it, and I am still declining to believe it. I have already stated that I accept that there are some judges who behave disgracefully, but there is nothing in your posts to support your allegations that this one did.

        You are hauling in extraneous allegations to try to deflect attention from the point we have been disputing from the beginning. I may be wrong, and the Judge really did conspire with Counsel to pervert the course of justice, but unless and until there is evidence – facts not allegations – then i’m with Munby.

      • But of course Ian, you are aware of their options, which would be to make a formal complaint to the Bar Council, to consult with other solicitors to get advice about an appeal, to consult with a McKenzie Friend about an appeal, or to lodge an appeal themselves if what is alleged is what occurred. And the other option, which presents no prospect of the decision being overturned is to go to a newspaper columnist.

  11. Alas; in answer to your point about contact;both parents have been shocked as they have been informed that contact arrangements have expired and not renewed ;probably to stop them taking more photos of the shocking injuries and other abuses these children have suffered in the care of the State !

  12. Stevie loves to put words in my mouth I never uttered and then criticise me for them ! I have repeatedly said that his honour Gareth Jones is a very fine and honest judge,one of the very best ! I have no criticism of him whatever.
    The judiciary press officer writes that the judge was “told” that the parents did not wish to attend and guess who told him !
    Suespicious the whole reason for going to a newspaper is to expose manifest injustice and disgraceful behaviour by treacherous lawyers.The parents were told by their counsel none of the options you kindly suggest .They were told however that they were not allowed to appeal and that it was all over.They will be appealing now however.

    • My point was, when they approached you, you were in a position to tell them of those options. The judgment was April last year, so they are now massively out of time for an appeal. There are other options in terms of leave to revoke the placement order or leave to oppose the adoption application depending on whether the children are placed for adoption – they’d need specialist advice on that. If they really don’t trust lawyers any more, a McKenzie Friend might be a solution.

  13. As they only received the judgement recently I told them that they still might get permission to appeal and that it was worth a try anyway.My point is that average parents like them would not understand what you mean’t by “contingency options” and did not contact me until nearly a year after the hearing .They believed lawyers who told them they could not go into any of the four court hearings (except fo a few minutes for the first one to hear the threshold read),and that they were not allowed to appeal.They claim that they never saw the judge at any time after the threshold and were tricked by their own legal team into waiting in a small room with their photos of injuries to their kids in care, and other documents while in fact their children were being given away by their treacherous legal team who had pointed to a security man on the door and told them they were NOT allowed in the court.Their lawyers have NOT denied any of this even when asked by Booker (and of course they were free to comment on the truth or otherwise of a published judgement).These parents were desperate to keep their kids and the idea that they had decided to “relinquish their children from their permanent care” is plainly absurd and an invention of the barristers who typed out the judgement and on whose word the judge relied regarding what they were alleged to have told their legal team.
    Suespicious ;I think you know in your heart that these parents never,never agreed to abandon their children and I do suggest you listen hard to your concience because I am sure that whatever else you might be ;you are at base an honest man.Too many parents have told me of similar treatment from their barristers and solicitors for me to seriously doubt this awful story of treachery and deceit by their legal team (and NOT by the judge) in the family courts.

    • It is really very simple. If this is what happened, the parents contact their previous solicitors – they say that their instructions were not followed at the final hearing. They request that a copy of counsel’s note of the hearing is provided to them, together with a copy of the Court bundle.

      With that material, and the evidence that they have about the complaint they make, they contact either fresh solicitors or a McKenzie Friend, and get advice about whether they have legitimate prospects of succeeding in their complaint and what the best legal route for that might be. That might be an appeal out of time, or it might more realistically be an application for leave to revoke the Placement Order. If the Court is satisfied on evidence that these parents did not give their lawyers the instructions that the lawyers put before the Court, then it would be right for the Placement Order to be revoked and for the case to be re-heard.

  14. Revoking a Placement order for Adoption (WHILE THERE’S LIFE THERE’S HOPE !!)

    The Adoption and Children Act 2002 received Royal Assent and therefore became law on 7th November 2002. However, the Act finally came into full effect on 30th December 2005. One of the provisions was that Freeing Orders  for Adoption were replaced by Placement Orders.

    After one year has expired from the date of the placement order for adoption, the local authority are bound by law to inform the former parents whether an adoption order has been made and (if not) whether the child is currently placed for adoption.

    If the child has not been adopted after 12 months then the parents are legally entitled to apply to The High Court for the placement order to be revoked (cancelled) on the grounds that they wish to resume parental responsibility.

    While the application is pending the adoption agency or local authority having parental responsibility shall not place the child for adoption without the leave of the court.

    Court of Appeal gives important guidance on adoption applications

    “Sloppy practice” must stop, warns Court

    The Court of Appeal comprising Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, Sir James Munby, the president of the Family Division, and Lady Justice Black has given important guidance as to the proper approach to applications for adoption orders and for leave to oppose adoption orders.

    In an unanimous judgment in Re B-S (Children) [2013] EWCA Civ 1146, the President said:

    “We have real concerns, shared by other judges, about the recurrent inadequacy of the analysis and reasoning put forward in support of the case for adoption, both in the materials put before the court by local authorities and guardians and also in too many judgments. This is nothing new. But it is time to call a halt.” [30]

    • All important stuff. One bit that isn’t quite right. A parent is not legally entitled to apply to revoke the placement order (they are legally entitled to apply for leave to make such an application), and it doesn’t have to be in the High Court.

      • • 6 hours ago

        The judge is NOT to blame here.It is clear from the judgement now published on Bailii that he was TOLD by the lawyers for these parents that the did not wish to attend court and (quote) “they have made the sad decision to” relinquish their children to adoption from their permanent care”.
        How could such shocking things happen? Well Mrs Justice Pauffley gives us a clue !
        “Judges and social workers have been conspiring to remove children unjustly from their parents” is the verdict, of a scathing High Court ruling recently presided over by Mrs justice Pauffley which illustrates the problem.
        It condemned family court judges for a ‘clandestine arrangement’ which meant that they simply rubber-stamped the demands of social workers without giving a fair hearing to the pleas of parents.
        Rulings by family judges were ‘cut and pasted’ from recommendations emailed to the court by social workers Mrs Justice Pauffley in, the High Court found.
        In fact the judgement on Bailii has NOT been signed or stamped and as it was almost certainly typed up on the instructions of the barristers involved in this case the judge has probably never seen it !It is common practice for judges in family courts to rely on barristers to see that their judgements are faihfully reported but when both sets of barristers collude with social services the judgements are more one sided than the original pronouncements of a busy judge who trusts barristers !
        I deal with over 1000 cases per year advising distraught parents and nearly half of them report that their lawyers went with the local authority’s legal team into a little room from which parents were excluded and were then told it was all settled and they had no need to go into court to distress themselves hearing their babies were going for adoption !
        This is a stain on the legal profession that will not easily be eradicated.

      • Ian could I have the link to Pauffleys statement please? I need it ASAP- you might have just saved a child, Tia

  15.…/It-never-happen-Appeal-jud.. is the link for anyone curious .Also it can be found by simply googling “judge pauffley cut and paste !”
    She said it all and then some !!

    • Ashamed to be British

      Thank you m’dear, I apologise, I’ve been on the run all day, with limited internet access via phone, I wasn’t being lazy, honest engines 🙂

  16. Forced Adoption

    We are still no further forward on this point: we are talking about the Judge in this case, not other cases. I will repeat, as I have over and over again, that I do not dispute that some Judges behave disgracefully; I do dispute that he did what you alleged him to do in this case i.e. allow Counsel to write his Judgement for him and then pretend it was his judgement.

    Incidentally, Judge Pauffley did not state in Her Judgement in:

    Re NL (A child) (Appeal: Interim Care Order: Facts and Reasons)

    which can be found at:


    “Judges and social were conspiring to remove children unjustly from their parents”.

    Putting words into her mouth is a pretty despicable thing to do, no matter how disgraceful the conduct of the Justices and the social workers was. You could at least have the decency to quote her correctly, instead of quoting the Daily Mail and pretending that those were her words…

  17. Incidentally, have we done HHJ Wildblood QC’s judgement on Gloucestershire Council etc. yet?

    I thought his opening paragraph was pretty spot-on

    “1. Foreword – Of course many cases reveal a few points of bad practice. However it is very rare that so many such points should be gathered into one case. It has taken two years and five months for these proceedings to be resolved. The case was listed in front of me (even though I had had no previous dealings with it save for a short procedural directions hearing 18 months ago) because there were such difficulties with it that it was thought necessary for it to come before me as the Designated Family Judge. I can see why.”

    If Suespiciousminds has already done it then my apologies; having emerged from hospital after 10 days I managed to stay out for a whole six days before being admitted into another hospital’s A&E for what turned out to be a wandering disk. Unfortunately I then had a spectacular reaction to a Neuro pain killer, which is not conducive to calm and measured reflection.

    So, if I’ve missed it then mea culpa, mea maxima culpa…

  18. Perhaps Stevie prefers this excerpt from the Pauffley judgement !

    Seemingly, there were process failures in this case which significantly interfered with the most basic requirements for openness and transparency. There was, apparently, an established but largely clandestine arrangement between the local authority and the court which, to my mind, has considerable repercussions for justice and, equally importantly, the perception that justice will be done. It is fundamental that nothing is sent to the judge by one party unless it is copied simultaneously to every other party.

    68. Equally and just as importantly, it is difficult to view the Justices as having been independent and impartial if, as happened here, they simply adopted the local authority’s analysis of what their Findings and Reasons might comprise. The Court of Appeal has recently made clear that the wholesale incorporation of such a draft is impermissible: see Crinion and anor v IG Markets Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 587. As Sir Stephen Sedley observed,

    “Unequivocal acceptance of one party’s case has always posed a problem for judges. To simply adopt that party’s submissions, however cogent they are, is to overlook what is arguably the principal function of a reasoned judgment, which is to explain to the unsuccessful party why they have lost…. (T)he possibility of something approaching electronic plagiarism is new, and it needs to be said and understood that it is unacceptable. Even if it reflects no more than the judge’s true thinking, it reflects poorly on the administration of justice: for … appearances matter.”

    I keep repeating Stevie that the judge was not at fault as the practice of allowing barristers to draft judgements is widespread and no doubt he took their word for it that the parents had accepted adoption when in fact they were desperate to keep their children and had brought a mass of evidence with them to prove their case but were told they could not enter the court.

    • Pauffley J’s judgment ended the practice. It is worth noting that this practice, which applied to Magistrates not Judges and to orders that were either agreed or not opposed, was not some evil concoction of conspiring lawyers, but the Magistrates’ Court following the Children Act Advisory Committee Guidance (which wasn’t drawn to Pauffley J’s attention) i.e Parliament told Magistrates to do it like that, and they did what Parliament told them. It had been a pragmatic decision that where everyone was agreed about the interim order to be made, people didn’t have to sit and wait for three hours for the Magistrates to fill out the form explaining why, but that the lawyers would draft it for them and they would then amend or adopt it.

      Are we better off without it? Yes. Lawyers hated doing it, and it is better that the reasons for making the decision are given by the people who have to make the decision. I’m glad that it has gone.

      In no way applicable to the case we’re actually talking about, because it is (a) a Circuit Judge who always have and always will write their own judgments and (b) after Pauffley J’s case anyway. Red herring.

      • Ashamed to be British

        Even worse is when the judge asks the local authority to write out the order! Who in turn write out what they want it to mean

      • Since you haven’t provided any evidence that ‘a Judge asks the local authority to write out the order’ it’s difficult to see the point you are trying to make. You are flatly contradicting Suesspicious’s statement above, based on his professional knowledge, yet you provide nothing at all to support your statement.

        Cannot you understand that these are precisely the sort of unsubstantiated allegations which make it easy for ordinary people to conclude that you are flogging your dead hobby horses, and thus allowing real injustices to go unchecked?

      • Ashamed to be British

        Because it only happened a couple of hours previous to me writing it.

        Your patronising tone is offensive, it happened, you’ll have to get over that fact!

      • I’m not patronising you.

        I’m certainly criticising you, by pointing out that you are doing dreadful damage to your own cause, but I’m not patronising you.

        If you had time to post here in vague tems you could have spent a few more minutes setting out the evidence to support your claims; the fact that it only happened a couple of hours before you posted doesn’t change that point, indeed, it makes it all the more important to get it all down in writing whilst your memory is still fresh.

        And there’s nothing for me to get over…

      • Ashamed to be British


      • To be fair to Sandy in this, it is part of the Family Procedure Rules that the advocate representing the Applicant is responsible for drafting the order. That doesn’t mean putting in whatever they like, it means writing in proper language what the Court decided. The other parties see it and have chance to correct any mistakes and it is the Judge who finalises it. If anyone did try to pull a fast one, they’d be caught out very simply. As a regular applicant, I’d be utterly delighted if this obligation was removed from me – it isn’t a tactical advantage, it is a thankless task.

      • Ashamed to be British

        To be fair Suess, I stated what had happened, only to be asked for evidence, which I wouldn’t put on public display anyway, especially as it resulted in a 13 yr gagging order.

        It did happen, I’m not proving it, therefore I’m lying … that’s what I got from it. Shame really, because it’s attitude like that, that keeps the nay sayers going, closed courts, closed minds

      • I didn’t think you were lying; if I thought you were lying I would have said so. Nor do I believe that the Family Courts are havens of unparalleled rectitude where nothing ever goes wrong.

        If you look up the page a bit you will see that I specifically drew attention to HHJ Wildblood’s judgement in a case where an awful lot of things went wrong, and he put the boot into those responsible; I wouldn’t do that if I had a closed mind.

        I still think you are not doing a family which needs help any favours in claiming that Judges are puppets of the Local Authority; indeed, you are more likely to be doing them harm. But that’s simply a question of my opinion…

      • Ashamed to be British

        I haven’t done that much harm, I’ve helped prevent the 4th attempt at commital to prison, so must be doing summat right … k

      • I’m really glad that your efforts have been rewarded in this case; as I said it’s my opinion that the bit about all judges are puppets of Local Government which I think could harm families you are trying to help.
        I am very much aware that it’s easy for me to sit here, or it would be if my spine decided to behave, and criticise people who are trying to help, whether it’s you or Suesspicious. I’ll try to convey that better in future.

  19. Twice I was at an appeal court(not this case) and each time the judges went out for only about five minutes then came back to read out a judgement of at least 20 pages that ignored many of the points the parents had made…………
    I doubt if judge jones wrote the judgement in question and if he did no doubt he simply believed barristers acting for the parents who wrongly told him the parents had accepted adoption and had decided not to attend court.
    I know how much time they spent gathering evidence before the hearing,how determined they were to fight every step of the way in court to try to stop the adoption and recover the children they loved.I heard their bitter disappointment when they told me their counsel had told them they were not allowed in court ;pointing to the security officer to emphasise the point ……..
    Not the sharpest Tools in the box maybe but no reason to deprive their kids of loving parents and tear to shreds a happy loving family.

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